Community Blog

Helping your Parent after a Diagnosis of Parkinson’s

By Vicki and Brian Day

Senior Care in Slatington PA

Your parent has recently been diagnosed with Parkinson’s. Their emotions may be ranging from disbelief, to fear, to rage, and understandably so. It will take time to accept this diagnosis and the possible consequences. Helping your parent see the forest for the trees and supporting them through their ups and downs will help them come to grips with the disease and develop an attitude of appreciating what they do have.

The Symptoms

Tremors are one of the first symptoms that develop with this disease. It is caused by damage to the cells in the brain that produce dopamine, a chemical that sends signals to the part of the brain involved with movement. This breakdown ultimately leads to tremors, stiff muscles, loss of balance and difficulty walking. Eventually, they may have trouble speaking and develop signs of dementia. Dopamine is also important in regulating emotions, which explains why those with Parkinson’s often experience mood swings and depression.

Hope

Hope is vital to accepting this diagnosis and looking forward to a life filled with promises and not progressive decline. The good news is that pharmacological advances have led to medications that help improve both the symptoms and the quality of life for those diagnosed with Parkinson’s. In addition, diet and exercise can play roles in slowing down the progression of this disease. Be sure that your loved one’s diet contains whole, nutrient-dense foods such as fruits, vegetables and high-quality meats, and is void of processed foods. Loss of balance can make your parent tentative when it comes to exercise. Working with a physical therapist can help them feel safe while developing an exercise program suited to their abilities. Activities that limit the risk of falls such as water aerobics and gentle stretching are good choices. Tai chi, an ancient Chinese form of martial arts, consists of gentle, graceful movements that flow from one into the other, promoting balance and strength. Due to its increasing popularity, many senior community centers offer classes in this form of exercise.

Home Care Provider

Obtaining the services of a home care provider at the onset of this diagnosis helps ensure stability as the disease progresses. They can assist with the daily activities of living as needed, as well as accompany your parent on walks and prepare healthy meals. They provide that all-important companionship that is crucial to maintaining hope and looking forward to a life filled with possibilities.

IF YOU OR AN AGING LOVED ONE ARE CONSIDERING SENIOR CARE IN SLATINGTON, PA, PLEASE CONTACT THE CARING STAFF AT HOME HELPERS. CALL TODAY! (610) 365-4266.